Saturday, 26 July 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 224: Wed Aug 13

20,000 Days on Earth (Forsyth & Pollard, 2014): Somerset House, 9pm


Here's the UK premiere of the award-winning documentary about musician & writer Nick Cave, which garnered rave reviews at Sundance this year.

Time Out review:
‘This is my 20,000th day on Earth,’ says Australian rock musician and writer Nick Cave as we see him waking up in a luxurious bed and baring his chest in the mirror. What are we watching? Is this ‘At Home with Nick Cave – The Royalties Years’? Far from it. Like much in this smart and deliriously strange film, the opening scene embraces a familiar tic of the music doc (here, the pretence of intimacy) but manages both to reject and rework it in inspiring ways. Put it this way: we don’t then see Cave take a crap or boil an egg. The film preserves his public face, even reinforces it, while also managing to offer a no-nonsense and revealing take on living and working as an artist.
The idea is that we spend one day on Earth with Nick Cave, from dawn til dusk, via family, friends, a recording session and a gig, but it’s just a conceit, a neat device, and much of the film plays out more like drama. It’s all a performance – but artifice co-exists with honesty.

There’s a sense of intimacy, but not the sort that pretends we’ve managed to breach the defences of someone’s life. There’s a shot of Cave watching a film with his young twin boys, eating pizza – the cuteness is exploded when we realise they’re watching ‘Scarface’. It’s a typically playful moment. Cave talks of his wife, Susie, and we hear an exciting monologue as he explains with moving hyperbole how he felt when he first laid eyes on her. But we only see her as a reflection in a window. The film conceals as much as it reveals, and its beauty is that it pretends to do nothing else. It embraces a mystery and protects it, and it’s thrilling to behold.
Dave Calhoun

Here (and above) is the review.

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